Today's Media: I Can Handle the TruthMr. Tim Snyder, Director of Media Services, Christian Life Resources
Clearly Caring Magazine, Vol. 24, No. 2, March/April 2005
A Few Good Men is a popular film telling the story of a military lawyer defending two Marines accused of murder. The following dialogue is excerpted from a memorable scene in which Marine Colonel Nathan Jessep (Jack Nicholson) is on the stand being questioned by Navy Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise):
Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I think I'm entitled.
Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I want the truth.
Jessep: You can't handle the truth!
Can you handle the truth? Some people think you can't. Like Colonel Jessup, they believe their way is the right way and feel justified in their lies and deception. The mainstream media can be like that. A 2004 Gallup Poll concluded that only 44 percent of Americans have confidence in the media's ability to report news stories fairly and accurately. Apparently the media doesn't think you can handle the truth.
Example: The popular press plays up the potential of embryonic stem cell research while at the same time ignoring the truth that it has been a failure in the laboratory. They gloss over the destruction of life involved in this research and, despite real success, the coverage of adult stem cell research has been almost non-existent.
Example: The popular press says 10 percent of American men are homosexual. An Alan Guttmacher-sponsored study of men between the ages of 20 and 39 estimated that only 1.1 percent are exclusively gay. That's a pretty big discrepancy.
Example: CBS, a major network, allows a story to air without verifying its sources. Some feel the network intentionally aired a false report in the hope of influencing the outcome of the presidential election.
It's not just the news outlets. The entertainment industry also displays a definite bias. Movies and television, including productions for kids, push specific agendas. Television portrays someone who calls homosexuality a sin as a narrow-minded bigot and it portrays pro-lifers as religious fanatics who would deny someone a basic freedom.
How do you deal with the two-headed news and entertainment monster that hides the truth and even lies to serve a sinful agenda? Cable and the Internet provide an alternative to major network news and, if you search hard enough, you may be able to separate fact from fiction, but ethical truth is as elusive as ever.
This article isn't going to help much when you sit down to tonight's newscast, but I can point you to the only resource you will ever need for separating right from wrong. The Word of God is the ultimate and final authority. The book of Acts shows us some people who knew just that. The Apostle Paul was preaching to the people of Berea and they in turn were checking Pauls story. Chapter 7, verse 11 reads: "They received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."
Take your cue from the Bereans when you search for truth.
If ten percent of American men are homosexual, does that make it right? What about 20 percent? Check out Romans 1, verses 26 and 27 or 1 Corinthians 6, verses 9 and 10 to see what God has to say. Whether one percent or 100 percent are doing it doesn't matter. Scripture clearly says homosexuality is a sin.
Do we only speak out against embryonic stem cell research because hard scientific data says adult stem cell research is better? In Exodus 20, verse 13 God says, "You shall not murder." Read Psalm 51, verse 5 where God assigns you personhood from the very time of your conception. Embryonic stem cell research is wrong because it involves sacrificing a human life.
Like Lieutenant Kaffee in A Few Good Men, you want the truth. You want the truth for yourself and for those you love. God wants you to have the truth. God wants you to have the salvation that is found only in His absolute truth. "[God] wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4).
You can handle the truth.
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